Junior researcher/Postdoc Land use and climate change

Junior researcher/Postdoc Land use and climate change

Published Deadline Location
29 Sep 18 Oct Amsterdam

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Do you have experience in spatial (modeling) analysis applied to forestry, agriculture or another sector? Are you interested in interdisciplinary research at the frontier of land use, climate change, forestry and agricultural sciences? Please apply at ...

Job description

The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at VU is offering one fully-funded junior researcher or postdoc position for a duration of 20 months (depending on experience and salary scale) in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation through land use change. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to further develop the continental land use model CLUMondo (van Asselen and Verburg, 2013, Glob. Change Biol.) to study mitigation and adaptation in the agriculture, forestry, and other land use sectors in two case studies in Germany (South Westphalia) and Spain (Granollers). Specifically, the junior researcher or postdoc will examine how these two regions can contribute to mitigating climate change and adapting to more frequent droughts, heat stress, and flooding by modifying their cropland and forest systems using different scenarios. These scenarios will involve a combination of changes in demands and novel practices in land use, including reduced tillage, diversification of crops and forest stands, afforestation, and green infrastructure in cities among others. These changes will be coupled with improved spatial planning policies to achieve significant targets for reducing GHG emissions and adapting to global changes. In addition to addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, scenarios will also be assessed in terms of their ability to provide other services, such as habitats for biodiversity and water provisioning, while taking into account justice and equity perspectives to ensure that these pathways of change are fair and desirable for the local population. Such assessments will be conducted with spatially-explicit indicators and simple models allowing us to quantify ecosystem services in space and time. Ultimately, this assessment aims to identify potential spatially explicit trade-offs and synergies among services to guide decision-making in the promotion and implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures.

The junior researcher or postdoc will work in the international KNOWING project (https://knowing-climate.eu/), funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe framework with 16 other institutes. The KNOWING project aims to develop a modelling framework to help understand and quantify the interactions between impacts and risks of climate change, mitigation pathways and adaptation strategies across different sectors (agriculture, forestry, urban, energy, transport). The framework will focus on three main climate impact: 1) Heat waves & health, (2) Soil, forest and agriculture (which this junior researcher or postdoc will focus on) and (3) Flooding & infrastructure (including river and coastal flooding).

The candidate will work closely with a postdoc and with two staff members from the Environmental Geography and Water and Climate Risk sections of the Institute. Different models will be adapted and developed for different climate impact contexts, and the candidate is expected to collaborate with other project partners to link the results from the land use model with other models (flood, health impact, …).

Your duties
  • contribute to and collaborate within the KNOWING project consortium
  • adapt and further develop an existing land use model for scenario modeling of climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • incorporate stakeholder inputs into the scenario modelling process through workshops
  • publish scientific papers based on research findings
  • participate in teaching and supervising students as needed


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • a Msc. or PhD degree in geography, environmental sciences, forestry or agricultural sciences or similar
  • a very good experience in land use modeling or spatial analysis and GIS
  • a good knowledge of system dynamics or environmental modeling
  • ability to collaborate with scientists from other disciplines (climatology, energy, hydrology, soil).
  • proficiency in English (both speaking and writing)
  • ability to start the position before January 2024

Conditions of employment

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,226 (scale 10)
and a maximum €5,090 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 20 months.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment, 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus, solid pension scheme (ABP), contribution to commuting expenses


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.

IVM is a leading environmental research institute that is internationally recognized for its high quality research output in a range of environmental disciplines, as well as for its interdisciplinary work. The mission of the institute is to contribute to sustainable development and care for the environment through scientific research and teaching. IVM aims to do excellent problem-oriented research that is useful to a wide range of stakeholders in the Netherlands and internationally. A unique strength of our research is to understand sustainability problems in their social and economic context. IVM research community works within four departments: Environmental Economics; Environmental Policy Analysis; Environmental Geography; and Water and Climate Risk. IVM is part of the Faculty of Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (www.vu.nl /ivm ). This position is based within the Environmental Geography department. The Environmental Geography department conducts interdisciplinary research on the spatial aspects of environmental and social challenges and the solutions sustainable land use can provide to these.


  • Postdoc; Research, development, innovation
  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • University graduate
  • 16254


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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